Chiron? What kind of planet is Chiron? We never learned about that one in school.
You’re right. Allow me to introduce you to this fascinating and important celestial body and astrological archetype.
The odd astronomical body now known as Chiron was formally discovered in 1977 by Charles Kowalski (although it was later found to have appeared, unidentified, in telescope photographs as long ago as 1895).
At that time, the astronomy of the solar system was thought to be much simpler than we now know it to be. There were the nine planets (including Pluto, which had not yet been demoted), the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and comets and other space stuff in weird, way-out orbits that looped close to the sun every couple of hundred years.
This new thing that Kowalski had discovered was really strange. Its orbit didn’t fit neatly into any of these categories. At its closest point to the sun, it’s about the distance of Saturn. At its farthest, it just crosses the orbit of Uranus. So it isn’t a comet, it isn’t an asteroid, and it isn’t a planet. What is it?
Kowalski called it a centaur — part asteroid, part minor planet — for the mythological creature that is half man, half horse, and gave it the name Chiron (KY-ron), the most well-known of the centaurs.
Later study of Chiron showed that it’s even weirder than originally thought. It has properties of a comet (it sports a tail when near the sun), properties of an asteroid, and properties of a planet. It even has a system of rings (one of two minor planets known to have rings). A very odd creature indeed!
In Greek mythology, Chiron, the first of the centaurs, was the son of Kronos (Saturn) and the nymph Philyra. Kronos’ wife, Rhea, interrupted Kronos and Philyra in flagrante. Caught in the act, Kronos said the ancient Greek equivalent of “Whoops!” and hid by turning himself into a stallion just at — ahem — the critical moment, resulting in a child that was half-man, half-horse.
Chiron became a scholar and a wise mentor, famous for his knowledge of herbs, medicine, and healing. He was the teacher of Achilles, Heracles, and especially Aesclapius, the Greek god of medicine and healing arts. The word “chiropractic” is based on his name and (according to mythology) the healing practices of spinal manipulation which he taught to Aesclapius.
Unfortunately there were also other centaurs, unrelated to Chiron, who were anything but wise, gentle, and good. David Arner (astrologer, jazz pianist, composer, and expert on bird song) was quoted by one of his students as saying that the other members of the centaur tribe were the Hell’s Angels of the Greek pantheon: “If there had been motorcycles back then, they would have been half-motorcycle.” These renegade centaurs got into a war with the hero Heracles, who in the heat of battle shot an arrow by mistake into Chiron, wounding him grievously.
Despite all his healing knowledge, Chiron could not heal his own wound. Suffering with constant pain and condemned as an immortal deity to suffer forever, he made a deal with his half-brother Zeus (Jupiter), the ruler of the gods — he would give up his immortality, die, and be raised into the heavens to become the constellation Centaurus.
And so it was.
The mythology of Chiron explains clearly why the astrological effect of Chiron is “the Wounded Healer.”
In your natal chart, the position of Chiron in both sign and house indicates your deepest wounds as well as your greatest ability to heal others. Chiron shows what you need most from others, as well as what others need from you.
Transiting Chiron, where he is in your chart at the moment, indicates the potential for awareness and positive change, the urge to become whole.
Chiron (symbol that looks like a key) is currently at 20 Pisces, moving retrograde, and will remain in Pisces until April of 2018. Pisces rules the inner self, solitude, compassion, empathy and sensitivity.
The shadow side of Chiron in Pisces is the tendency to see suffering in other people and want to fix it for them, whether or not it would be helpful to them to “be fixed;” whether or not it’s your job — or within your capabilities — to fix them.
A better use for this energy might be to see the suffering and look for ways to help that person heal him or herself, to be the teacher of medicine instead of the doctor doling it out. Recognize also that there may well be times that you can’t help, and be careful that you don’t take on too much of someone else’s pain. It may not be your burden to bear.
You can look for wounds in the world and see if there is anything you can do to help. It doesn’t have to be big… you don’t have to cure cancer or bring about world peace. Take an elderly neighbor out for coffee. Volunteer at your local library or soup kitchen. Small ways to help relieve pain honors Chiron as much as big deeds, and the small ones add up in ways we’re not able to see.
Because Pisces also rules the inner self, this is a good time to look within and see where you yourself are suffering. It’s hard to heal ourselves — even Chiron couldn’t do it — so it’s very likely that once you find that place of wounding, you will need someone else to help with the healing, to reach the spots that you can’t reach for yourself. And it may be that in the small ways you help others you find a way to your own healing path.
As the Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes once said, “In this life you may not be healed of the disease, but you can be healed of its hold over you.”
Where is Chiron in your chart?
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